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Oz convict ancestor database goes online

Russell Crowe, Germaine Greer could be genetic lags

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A UK-based genealogy website gained massive ink yesterday as it offered its users access to a complete database of convicts shipped to Australia from 1788 to 1868.

Ancestry.co.uk says two million Brits and four million Aussies "are of convict descent".

If the analysts are right, and CIA world factbook population figures are correct, one in five Australians and one in 30 Brits are descended from jailbirds, so this info could be relevant to a lot of us. It also seems that the First Fleet of non-volunteer Australian migrants wasn't all Brits/Irish: the cuff-wearing colonials also included Yanks, West Indians, and Africans.

"No matter what they did, they're still family," says Ancestry.co.uk.

In a spirit of inquiry, the Reg tried a few obvious names: "Minogue" (one hit, Michael Minogue, invited to move to Oz by the courts in 1858), "Crowe" (five hits, all 1827-1836, perhaps arguing some kind of law-enforcement campaign against a notorious criminal clan) and "Greer" (four hits, 1822-1848). Details beyond this level sadly require payment, which the Vulture accountancy department was unwilling to spring for.

Based on this research, however, we provisionally conclude that thirsty Hollywood brawler Russell Crowe is marginally more likely to be descended from crooks than sweary-mary anarcho-feminist and Celebrity Big Brother contestant Germaine Greer. Tiny pop sexpot and imminent Doctor Who star Kylie Minogue would seem likely to be of respectable antecedents.

Clearly a valuable resource all round. ®

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